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Old 01-08-2019, 02:16 PM
4 posts, read 2,287 times
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Hi! My husband and I are looking to move to Westchester this year. We picked it out of all of the NYC suburbs because of the proximity to family and convenience of Metro-north.

We have a 4.5 year old (kindergarten in Fall 2019) and one on the way. Everyone says to pick a neighborhood based on the schools, but besides looking at ratings on school sites, it's kind of impossible to research what schools could be "good" or "bad". My son goes to pre-k at a public school in Brooklyn that we are really happy with.

For us, a good school would = economic and racial diversity and a liberal parental community. My worst nightmare is being in a district with all very well to-do white people.

A good community is somewhere with a lively downtown, lots of local eateries but quick access to the big chain stores for ease of shopping.

Can anyone recommend districts that would fit this bill? Or, anywhere that I should avoid?

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Old 01-08-2019, 04:11 PM
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we moved from prospect heights w/ 2 kids to scarsdale. scarsdale schools are 20% asian, 75% white/jeweish and 5% other. not man eateries in the downtown scarsdale/hartsdale train stations, but definitely easy access to white plains big box stores, two trader joes, a whole foods, hmart, etc.

most brooklynites like the river towns (tarrytown, dobbs ferry, irvington, hastings, etc) but not my cup of tea.

economic/racial diversity would probably be pleasantville, mamaroneck, pelham maybe..

tarrytown has a lot of brooklyn-like restaurants and two coffee shops.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:11 PM
Location: Toronto
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Look into Mamaroneck. You haven't mentioned what your budget is, but it certainly meets your criteria for the schools. It shares a district with Larchmont, which is less diverse, but there is a sizable ex-pat population in the area which gives it some less-visible diversity as well. Lots of convenient local shopping, and close enough to New Rochelle, Port Chester, and White Plains for your big box stores. My kids did all their activities in the Larchmont-Mamaroneck-Harrison-Rye corridor.

FYI we first moved the Scarsdale and it's everything you describe as not wanting. Mamaroneck just has a less pretentious vibe.

We lived in Orienta and loved it (and our neighbors had moved from Brooklyn), but it's slim pickings right now. The market will pick up in the next couple of months. Good luck.
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:07 AM
Location: New York
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I'd suggest checking out the Rivertown village of Hastings on Hudson. It has a large contingent of former Brooklynites, so you'll probably find many families who have a lot of things in common. The village has many families with young children and the schools are considered very good as well. Furthermore, it's hard to beat the commute times via Metro North. I live just north of Hastings and can attest that it has a much more 'young, liberal' vibe than many other places in Westchester which can be a bit more established and stodgy.

You might enjoy checking out this NYT article, which discusses the recent influx of ex-Brooklyn residents to Hastings:

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Old 01-09-2019, 08:28 AM
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When moving from NYC to the suburbs . . . towns are usually pretty limited in terms of racial and economic diversity because people, overall, tend to move to towns they can afford to live in. The further you go up the economic ladder, the less economically and racially diverse it becomes. Westchester towns are no different. The wealthiest Westchester towns (with the alleged "top" School districts) follow this pattern. Nevertheless, Pelham and Hastings both seem to attract an educated and liberal crowd and have good (but, to some people, not top) school districts. Hastings has a town pool. Pelham does not. Mamaroneck's diversity is mainly from a latino immigrant population, so you will have a population of ESL students, which many prefer. Also, check out Edgemont school district (Scarsdale PO Box). The only school district considered "top," that actually does have a significant Asian/Indian demographic. Housing prices are a hair less than Scarsdale (although, taxes are higher than Scarsdale because it is within the town of Greenburgh) and most use Scarsdale Village for local shopping and restaurants.
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Old 01-09-2019, 09:38 AM
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Search the board for White Plains schools, which are generally highly regarded by people that send their kids there (but not so much by people evaluating based on test scores). If you're looking for economic and racial diversity (which is a niche in Westchester), it's a hidden gem. Middle of the county and sits on I-287 so convenient to everywhere, lots of stuff locally, arguably the best NYC commute around, considerably lower taxes, growth/improvement of downtown seems to offer good upside that you’re not going to see in more suburban towns that are more static by nature.

Last edited by tommya; 01-09-2019 at 09:49 AM..
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Old 01-09-2019, 10:55 AM
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Westchester is very nice, but nothing has a real BK vibe. I would also look in New Jersey.
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Westchesterwannabe View Post
Westchester is very nice, but nothing has a real BK vibe. I would also look in New Jersey.
I have to agree with this. A Brooklynite myself, none of these towns come close because it's hard to recreate the diversity (there are diverse housing options in BK) and all the great things that stem from it in terms of restaurants, cultural events, a rainbow of people in your neighborhood (sometimes school) every day. And Westchester towns each have their own culture. I wish I knew this before moving here. You won't get this from reading about test scores and school ratings. And no-one on these websites really speaks to the issue of racial diversity because many of the wealthier towns (and ones with the so called highly-regarded school districts) lack any real diversity. (And by wealthier, I mean any town that is NOT New Roc, Mount Vernon, or Yonkers and, for the most part, White Plains. However, there are children that do well in ALL of these school districts).
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:55 AM
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One last thing. The most diverse school districts are the ones that are typically NOT recommended on this board (New Roc, Yonkers, Mount Vernon, and sometimes, White Plains). Here's why . . . in Westchester there is usually 1 HS option per town/city (except Yonkers), where EVERY child in that town (and those that can illegally gain entry) is entitled to use the schools. There are no other public options like charter schools, gifted and talented schools, or specialized HS's that you may find in NYC. This poses a dilemma for many parents, especially those coming from diverse NYC. You can do the math here. Most people of any means usually opt to go to a school district that minimizes their own child's potential exposure to kids who are generally NOT on an academic/college track . . . that have the 99% of kids attending 4 year colleges (and even the 99% attending 4 year private colleges, etc). Insert your own assumptions here. These statistics correlate directly with the wealth of the town overall, and, sadly, a decreasing amount of diversity.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:36 PM
448 posts, read 373,243 times
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You’ll get a halfway decent vibe (eclectic restaurants / sidewalk community feel) plus good schools in the Rivertowns, Larchmont or Bronxville. But it will lack some diversity.

One of the few places that has what you’re looking for is Montclair NJ, minus excellent schools. However there is a beautiful small town neighboring Montclair that does have excellent schools, community feel, seasonal city views and you could drive/walk into 5 mini villages in Montclair. That town is Glen Ridge. Montclair is highly regarded as having the best restaurants in NJ and there is a flood of younger families coming in from Brooklyn and Hoboken.

We cross shopped Westchester and ended up in Glen Ridge. Best of both worlds - small excellent tight knit school with all the shops in your backyard. Parks and sidewalks are littered with children and strollers and generally feels very warm compared to most of Westchester. Although while Montclair is very diverse, GR is 90%+ white. Although when you leave your house to go out in Montclair it feels significantly more diverse. We look forward to going out in Montclair on the weekends more than we did when we lived in the UES. And honestly, it is nice to see a lot of younger people out and about (Montclair State University / younger people occasionally coming in from JC/Hoboken). Anyway. Really like it here. Never looked back. But I will say dealing with NJ Transit and Penn station is a trade off. The train varies from 30-45/50 minutes depending on scheduling and delays. But you’re 12 miles due west of midtown and feel more connected to the city. That’s the equivalent of being in the Bronx/Yonkers. For one, you could see the city lights at night, Uber/car service to NYC could be very quick, date nights on Hoboken waterfront is very convenient, and if you decide to take the bus to NYC, it could be as quick as a 25 min ride off peak.

Last edited by JaRuss01; 01-09-2019 at 12:49 PM..
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